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“CODING HANGOUT” at the Children’s Museum of Houston

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“CODING HANGOUT”
Children’s Museum of Houston’s brings ideas into reality with all-new computational thinking and coding exhibit
Exhibit Opens June 3 just in time for Sci-Fi Summer!
Sponsored by OXY
 
HOUSTON (July 1, 2017) – The Children’s Museum of Houston invites you to kick it at Houston’s newest hangout for kids, just in time for “Sci-Fi Summer!”  From June 3, 2017 to Jan. 21, 2018, the all-new “Coding Hangout” exhibit will help you move beyond being merely a consumer of technology to becoming a creator of technology by learning core computer coding skills.  Move beyond the language and into the core computational thinking skills necessary to bring your ideas into reality.  Explore how coding and computational thinking works through activities involving manipulation, critical thinking and experimentation, like solving puzzles, coding drawings, and programming robots! 
 
“Coding Hangout” believes that to truly create meaningful code, you must have more than just knowledge of a coding language’s elements.  To be a successful developer of code, you also must have strong computational thinking skills.  Computational Thinking is the problem-solving process used to dissect messy, real-world visions, problems, and designs and translate them into a form which a computer can tackle through code without further human intervention.  “Coding Hangout” focuses on different approaches that encourage the growth of these computational thinking skills by helping you understand how you can:
 
⦁ Reduce unnecessary detail to make a problem more understandable (Abstraction)
⦁ Define a clear set of steps in a process (Algorithmic Thinking)
⦁ Make complex problems easier by separating them into their component parts (Decomposition)
⦁ Identify and exploit patterns (Generalization)
⦁ Take steps to ensure that a solution – whether a system, algorithm, or process – fits its intended purpose (Evaluation)
 
“Computers are exceedingly frustrating,” says Keith Ostfeld, Director of Educational Technology and Exhibit Development for the Children’s Museum of Houston. “Becoming a coder, first and foremost, requires that you learn how to talk to a computer in a way it can understand. That’s what computational thinking is – learning how to take our everyday language and translate it into a set of instructions that a computer can use.”
 
COMPUTER SCIENCE WORKFORCE SHORTAGE
Our society is struggling with a shortage in the computer science workforce.  Computer science is the only STEM field with more job openings than college students, with two-thirds of jobs relating to computer science existing outside of the tech industry.  (Source: Partovi, Hadi. "What % of STEM Should Be Computer Science?" Anybody Can Learn. Code.Org, 19 June 2014. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.)
 
But this is more than just a computer sciences workforce development issue.  The evolution and interweaving of technology throughout our culture and daily lives has a large impact on employment in general.  Jobs that previously involved routine physical tasks performed by blue collar employees have been prime candidates for computerization, automation and/or offshoring, resulting in ongoing reductions in the workforce required for manufacturing since the 1960s.  (Source: Levy, Frank, and Richard J. Murnane. Dancing with Robots: Human Skills for Computerized Work. Third Way, 17 July 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.)  This sea change prompted a steadily increasing demand for employees who can perform tasks that cannot be assigned to a computer, including those that require the ability to work with new information and define solutions to unstructured problems. While computational thinking is a process generally used when working with computers, skills necessary in computational thinking are also essential for numerous other jobs. 
 
“Coding Hangout” will provide kids the opportunity to see that coding isn’t just for “geniuses,” but in reality is quite accessible to many. It will allow children to identify themselves as potential computer programmers having a variety of future workforce options.  It will empower them to create their own projects using code and ignite their computational thinking.
 
“Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sara Haider, and Jade Raymond didn’t wake up one day knowing how to code,” says Ostfeld. “They all started by first learning to write a basic program, then building their knowledge and skills and, more importantly, their imagination and determination by practicing and solving more and more complicated problems. With Coding Hangout, we want to help give kids that initial experience. Give them the push that will hopefully launch them into the world of computational thinking and coding.”
ABOUT CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF HOUSTON
“America’s No. 1 Children’s Museum” by Parents Magazine, listed among Forbes, LA Times and USA Today’s “Best Children’s Museums in the U.S.,” winner of Houston A-List “Best Museum 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015,” Kids Out and About “Top 20 Places to Take Kids in Houston, 2013, 2014 & 2015,” and one of “Houston’s Must See Museums” by Travel Channel, the Children’s Museum of Houston is a Playground for Your Mind™.  It is dedicated to transforming communities through innovative, child-centered learning with a vision to spark a passion for lifelong learning in all children.  MUSEUM SUMMER HOURS are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.  The Museum is open at 9 a.m. on the Second Saturday of every month for Museum Members. For more information, please visit www.cmhouston.org or call (713) 522-1138.  Can your mind come out to play?™
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